Series: Survivor's Club #7
Published by Signet on May 3rd 2016
“Surely everyone was entitled to some companionship, some contentment in life even when youth was a thing of the past.”
FINAL DECISION: Absolutely loved this lovely story of two people who later in life look for companionship and find love beyond what they ever expected. Balogh managed to finish her Survivor’s Club series in a emotional and redemptive fashion filled with hope and love.
THE STORY: George Crabb, the Duke of Stanbrook has been widowed for 12 years after his wife committed suicide following the death of their son in the Peninsular Wars. Now at 48 years old, George is considering marrying again since all his Survivor’s Club friends have found love. When he thinks of marriage, however, George has only one woman in his mind. He thinks of Dora Debbins, a woman he met briefly a year ago and still hasn’t forgotten. He seeks her out and proposes marriage for companionship and friendship. Dora gave up hope of marrying when a family scandal left her to care for her younger sister. Dora has made a life for herself as an independent music teacher and yet the possibility of marrying the man she hasn’t been able to get out of her mind is seductively attractive. As George and Dora think to build a good marriage, they find out that the past which previously robbed them of their happy ending is dangerously close to stealing their happiness again.
OPINION: I adore how Balogh goes deep into the emotion of her characters. While there is a storyline plot that moves the action forward, the emphasis in ONLY BELOVED is on the developing relationship between George and Dora. George and Dora are characters which I fell in love with. Both had their youthful dreams of love and marriage taken from them, they reached an age when they believed that the possibility of happiness had passed them by. Instead, each had built a life helping others. The marriages of all the other Survivor’s Club members prompt George to think about Dora again and wonder if they might find a measure of companionship, friendship and happiness together. What he knows is that he cannot love — that possibility having been burned out of him by his first marriage.
As Dora and George so obviously fall in love, there is immense sadness that these two people believe that their lives lack the possibility and hope of love. As they reveal themselves to one another, they discover that love exists for everyone. I love how the story develops with a maturity and yet a joyful discovery between these two people. This story demands patience and a willingness to allow these characters their journey. Their story unfolds slowly and patiently but at the perfect pace for these two.
I love the beauty and gentleness of the relationship between Dora and George. I like that it reflected both their maturity and the newness of falling deeply in love. They are both wise in the difficulties in life but also neophytes in loving and trusting and building a life together.
I loved this book and as the last book in the series, I was not disappointed.
WORTH MENTIONING: Fans of the series will be pleased by the appearances and updates on the couples from the series. Just what you would expect from a concluding book.
CONNECTED BOOKS: ONLY BELOVED is the seventh and final book in the Survivor’s Club series. It can be read as a standalone although I think the book has more emotional meaning at the end of the series.
STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.